August 20, 2013

Looking for Suiter

My maiden name is Suiter. It's not a common name, so when I accidentally found myself near the town of Suiter, I just had to take some pictures.

The accidental part was finding ourselves on a detour. I had seen the town on a map but decided we did not have time to seek it out because we were already behind schedule. We were heading north on I-77, hours from home and with a couple more hours to go to reach our destination, Breaks Interstate Park. Wanting to reach the park before darkness fell, I did not think it prudent to detour off the interstate and take a winding road over the mountain instead of going through Big Walker Tunnel.

Fate intervened. Frank needed a break from driving and took the first available exit so I could take the wheel. But after I started the car up I saw a sign: Detour to I-77 North. I followed the arrows and soon realized we would not get back on the interstate until after crossing Big Walker Mountain!

Well, okay. Maybe I'd see Suiter after all. My map book showed two towns with similar names in that area. Suitor (with an "O") was shown on the way up the mountain, but we never saw it. I don't think it exists anymore and my map is pretty old. Suiter (with an "E") is on the other side of the mountain, and sure enough we found a sign to it before rejoining the interstate.

Strangely, the town name on the directional sign uses the "O" spelling but the road name uses the "E" spelling. We drove down the road as far as a crossroads but did not have time to continue deep into the forest where the map shows "Suiter" to be. Some folks on a genealogy site say the town is just a couple of houses anyway.
A Community on Suiter Road
The following day I found a book in the park store called Southwest Virginia Crossroads: An Almanac of Place Names and Places to See by Joe Tennis. He gave this history of Suiter:
In 1836, Alex Suiter (Suitor) acquired 1,100 acres of land in the Suiter vicinity along Hunting Camp Creek. Western: VA- 615 at VA-618.
Another source gives the date as 1844 and states that the land grant was for 100 acres. Perhaps that was an addition to his earlier holdings — I don't know.
View from Big Walker Mountain in the direction of Suiter


  1. Sometimes detours can lead to interesting discoveries. We visited Breaks Interstate Park several years ago.

  2. That was about the time that they were giving grants to soldiers of the revolution instead of paying them. He may have lived further east in VA or even PA.

  3. that's cool to find your way there.

  4. Cool! As a Suiter descendant, I need to snag a copy of that photo of Suiter Road, to keep with my photo taken in Hot Springs NC showing the intersection of two roads named Meadow and Dora.

  5. Well, it does seem as if you were meant to find your way there and fate had a hand in things. How cool!

  6. Bacana ter um lugar com o seu sobrenome!
    adorei as imagens da estrada! bjs

  7. I agree, fate had to play its part :) What a pretty town!

  8. Oh, it was fate indeed! Name spellings seemed to change a lot back then.


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